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A Grapefruit a Day

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. How about a grapefruit a day? While the grapefruit diet has been thoroughly debunked as a means of shedding and keeping off the pounds in the long-run, there are still many health benefits to adding a bit of this sunny citrus to your day, particularly when it comes to the health of your skin.

Whether you opt for eating the fruit or drinking its juice, both forms of grapefruit are rich in vitamin C, like all citrus fruits, but the grapefruit actually contains more of the nutrient than any other form of citrus. The benefit for your skin? Vitamin C is vital for the creation of collagen, and your skin is made up of more than 80% collagen.

Grapefruits are also good sources of lycopene and naringin. These so-called phytochemicals or bioflavanoids are compounds produced by plants that have antioxidant properties. Lycopene has cancer-fighting benefits because it lessens the impact of free radicals, which have been linked to the development of cancer cells. Of the varieties of grapefruit—pink, red or white—pink has the highest levels of lycopene. Tomatoes are another good source of the chemical.

The addition of grapefruit or grapefruit juice in your diet has been shown to increase the function of your liver’s enzymes. This is a result of the phytochemical naringin. Reducing the level of toxins in your liver not only can improve the overall health of your skin, but also it can allow for the greater release of toxins, including certain carcinogens, from your body, thereby reducing your risk of cancer as well.

There is a downside to naringin, however. It can interact with certain medications, including aspirin, Depakote, calcium channel blockers, cholesterol-lowering drugs and others, by not allowing the liver to properly break them down. It is important to ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if including grapefruit in your diet can interact with any of your prescriptions or over-the-counter medications.

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